Carolina Panthers Player No. 1: Chuck Smith (DE)
Chuck Smith was a sack-machine during a prolific eight-year stint with the Atlanta Falcons. The edge rusher was a dominant force that played with a ruthlessness that made him one of the best defensive ends in the league.
This was enough for the Carolina Panthers to make a substantial financial outlay to get Smith from their NFC South rival in the 2000 offseason. Smith secured a five-year deal worth around $21 million. But things turned sour soon after he put pen to paper.
Smith ended up playing just two games for the Panthers before injury took its toll. This was an incredibly unfortunate situation for both the player and the organization. And it was something that he failed to recover from.
The Panthers gave every Smith every chance to prove his fitness. But he was unable to get back on the right track. He was released from his deal following the season, which proved to be the last of his career.
Although Smith finished his career with 58.5 sacks, 210 solo tackles, 11 tackles for loss, and 20 forced fumbles, he will be remembered in Carolina as someone who came in on a big-money contract before an unfortunate turn of events ensured the player was unable to make a difference.